Gennadiy Yuriev, the former deputy head of Ukrainian energy giant Naftogaz, killed himself Wednesday before he could be arrested on suspicion of corruption and abuse of power by military prosecutors.
Yurivev, likely fearing arrest and search, committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol. Military prosecutors have arrested three of Yurivev’s co-workers on similar charges. The prosecutors were conducting searches on charges of embezzlement of funds during procurement of drilling facilities.
Yurivev was a confidant and close supporter of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was removed from power in February 2014. Yanukovych is currently in exile in Russia and wanted by Ukraine for high treason.
Several other former close supporters of Yanukovych have also recently committed suicide.
Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) announced in March that it suspected senior executives in Naftogaz had put “illegal pressure” on former officials to secure government positions. Ukraine is currently trying to eliminate cronyism and implement anti-corruption measures demanded by Western creditors as part of a deal to obtain emergency loans.
The anti-corruption campaign is occurring while Ukraine fights several major military incursions into its territory by neighboring Russia and Russian-backed rebels. The International Criminal Court ruled in November that Russia and Ukraine were in a de facto state of war over the annexation.
Ukraine and Russia have maintained extremly tense relations, occasionally flaring up in outright warfare since Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula more than two years ago. Ukraine and Western leaders have accused Russia of backing pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
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